After 6 pairs of take-offs and landings over the last 48 or so hours, we arrived in Paro, Bhutan today at about 2 pm local time. Our flight path took us from Jackson to Salt Lake City to Los Angeles to Tokyo (only enough time to walk from one flight to the next in Tokyo) to Bangkok (we spent a few hours in beds in the airport hotel in Bangkok) to Bagdogra, India (did not even get off the plane in Bagdogra) to Paro. (Kate Welsh from the University of Wyoming actually had a slightly different itinerary but just 6 flights; she began in Laramie to Denver to Los Angeles.) The travel time was long, but even in the few short hours we have been here the destination was well worth the time.The final flight into Paro was as spectacular as we had heard about. We saw Mount Everest in the distance from the plane and flew into the narrow Paro Valley. We were greeted at the airport by our kind hosts – Tashi Lhamo and Bhumika Ghalley. Tashi and Bhumika have both been to Teton Science Schools as part of previous delegations of teachers. Bhumika came in January 2010 and Tashi in January 2012. They both work for the Ministry of Education and have been instrumental in setting up our visit.
Following arrival, we moved into the Holiday Home Hotel and were happily surprised to find former Teton Science Schools’ graduate student Jigme Norbu here to welcome us as well. We enjoyed some tea around the wood burning stove and then headed out with Tashi and Bhumika to the Kyichu Lhakhang temple in Paro where we marveled at the architecture and learned about some of the Buddhist history of Bhutan.
Now the long hours of travel without much sleep are starting to catch up with all of us. We will have a Bhutanese dinner and then hope for a good night’s sleep.